Summer may be winding down, but it is still in full effect and one of my favorite ways to celebrate the fact that Chicago is not frozen tundra is to set my taste buds on fire. Spicy summer cocktails are hot in more ways than one, and here are some of my favorite spots around town to partake in these caliente creations.
Picante De La Casa at The Allis in Soho House
West Loop | 113-125 N Green St.
Here’s a cocktail that is always on the menu at Soho House, so even if you’re not a member you can still try this spicy libation at their ground-floor swanky bar the Allis. It has Cazadores reposado, lime, agave, chili, and cilantro. It tastes like a spicy margarita but it has a healthy kick to it and the cilantro gives it an herbaceous finish. Sip it while people watching on their gorgeous patio.
The Angry Mermaid at Pearl Tavern
The Loop | 180 N Upper Wacker Dr.
This cocktail does NOT mess around. It’s made with Del Maguey Mezcal, St. Germain, habanero Syrup and fresh lemon juice. So it has a smoky grapefruit flavor with a punch that begins as a slight tingle, and then gently escalates. Not for the faint of heart, but for all of those who love a complex drink that can awaken the taste buds.
Pineapple Express at Dolce Italian
River North | 127 W. Huron St.
I love that I can get a spicy summer cocktail that includes pineapple at a hot new Italian restaurant. A bit unexpected, but very welcomed. This bad boy is a libation made complete with Casamigos Blanco tequila, fresh pineapple juice, jalapeno cilantro syrup and mezcal mist. Delicious with a hint of smokiness.
A Big Dill at AMK Kitchen
Bucktown | 1954 W. Armitage Ave.
I LOVE this patriotic joint. It’s rustic, it’s cool, it’s everything we love about Bucktown. Their food is fabulous but their drinks give the grub a run for its money. A Big Dill is great because it’s has very different flavors from a traditional spicy cocktail. It’s made with St. George Green Chile Vodka, Cardamom Bitters, Lime, and a dill sprig. It’s light, crisp, refreshing, and the green chile vodka will be sure to wake you up.
The Master at EPIC
River North | 112 W. Hubbard St.
This cocktail is awesome, but what makes it even cooler is drinking on the lush and scenic rooftop. EPIC has recently revamped their menu and I must say – I ‘likey.’ So while we still have a bit of summer left, check out this concoction made with Maestro Dobel, Pama, agave nectar, jalapeno, and fresh lime juice while gazing at the gorgeous downtown skyline.
Kelly Rizzo is a food, travel, and music writer living in Chicago. She hosts her own web series, Eat Travel Rock TV and is also is a VH1 contributor. To get eat tin touch with Kelly, follow her on Instagram, Twitter, or visit EatTravelRock.com.